Barry McNamara  |   Published September 29, 2019

Pink Pumpkin Race

Student groups to hold 5K run/walk on Oct. 5 to heighten awareness of the fight against breast cancer.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Three Monmouth College student organizations are coming together to stage the inaugural Pink Pumpkin Race, an event to help the fight against breast cancer.

pinkpumpkin The 5K run/walk will be held during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month at 8 a.m. Oct. 5, starting at the Huff Athletic Center. Proceeds from the event will be donated to OSF Holy Family Medical Center in Monmouth.

Political economy and commerce professor Shanna Bruer said that the campus organizations – Women in Business, Blue Key Honor Society and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity – have spent “countless hours” preparing the event.

“With one in eight women diagnosed with this life-changing disease, we see a prolific need for services here in Monmouth and the surrounding community,” said Bruer, who is advising the student groups on the event. “The event team has aligned with OSF to keep all proceeds local.”

Personal motivation

Bruer said the student groups’ members felt it was important to keep the event local.

“We feel very passionately that there are so many women that are disadvantaged in our community,” she said. “As a result of that, we really wanted to keep all of our efforts focused on those women and their families here in Warren County.”

Bruer said the students she is directing are “an extremely motivated and dedicated group.” Like Bruer herself, who has seen an aunt and close friend affected by the disease, most of them know somebody who’s had breast cancer.

When she was 7 years old, Maddisen Nelson ’21 of Byron, Ill., lost her mother, Amy, to breast cancer.

“This is something that personally reaches close to my heart,” said Nelson, who is part of the Women in Business organization, which Bruer advises.

‘Really good learning process’

Bruer said she’s used the event-planning process as a valuable teaching tool for such business concepts as leadership, teamwork and marketing, as well as learning to work with the local community.

“We were really looking to do a big philanthropy project that would impact the local community,” said SigEp member Trevor Jones ’21 of Mukwonago, Wis. “My grandfather had leukemia, so I know how debilitating the cancer process is on a person.”

Allie Pemberton ’20 of Knoxville, Ill., said for her organization, Blue Key, the Pink Pumpkin Race is a good way for it to give back to the local community.

“We all know someone who has breast cancer,” she said. “I remember my mom telling me stories of how destructive and draining that chemotherapy was for my great-grandmother.”

Pemberton said she’s learned a lot while helping plan the event.

“This project has been a really good learning process, requiring a lot of persistence and dedication,” she said.

“The marketing process is what I’ve learned the most from,” said Nelson, “and how much time and energy goes into that.”

How to participate

Individuals can register for the event at or make a pledge to someone who has already signed up to participate.

“You can see each of their profiles on the site and choose a person to sponsor,” said Bruer.

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